My friend, Bob

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Posted by Francis J. Beckwith on November 18, 2003 at 21:22:09:

I remember the first time I met Bob Passantino. It was at his home in 1991. I had been invited over by Bob and Gretchen so that we can get to know each other. Although we had common friends and interests, we had never actually met. Over the years we have since talked hundreds of times, never once a wasted moment in which I did not learn something.

What I found in Bob was a good friend who was not only loyal, honest, and generous in spirit, but an intellectual sparring partner who was so serious about philosophy and theology that he never took himself too seriously. There was a playfulness, and curiosity, about Bob's mind that was downright contagious. His breadth and depth of knowledge was truly staggering, surpassed only by the humility and graciousness by which he approached both people and ideas.

Whenever I had what I thought was a unique insight on some concept or argument I knew that I could count on Bob Passantino to give me a run for my money. His love for truth, and his concern for friends, meant that he would not pull any punches. But he would do so in a way that made you feel better about yourself. He was a teacher, and you were the pupil, and yet he would not hesitate to ask your advice, to be your pupil.

Bob is now at peace with his Savior. We will miss him. But heaven's a better place because he is there. I wonder how long it will be before Bob hunts down Calvin and gives him a run for his money. And we all know who will win that argument (and God does too).

Well done, good and faithful servant.

Francis J. Beckwith
Associate Professor of Church-State Studies
Associate Director, J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies
Baylor University

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